President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has extended his best wishes to the Khmer community in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on the occasion of their traditional Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year) festival.

Visiting the city’s Solidarity Association of Patriotic Buddhist Monks and Muni Rangsey pagoda on April 16, Nhan presented gifts to monks and Khmer people.

He affirmed the State’s policy to help residents enjoy free and fair religious practices, calling for funds to build religious facilities like pagodas and academies.

Most Venerable Dao Nhu, a member of the VFF Central Committee and President of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha – Can Tho branch, said that in recent years, a number of Party and State policies have been carried out in the locality to help the Khmer ethnic group escape from poverty and improve their living conditions.

Can Tho is now home to 5,119 Khmer families, mainly in Thoi Lai and O Mon districts. By late 2014, the city lowered the poverty rate among poor Khmer households under two digits to 8.65 percent for the first time.

Chol Chnam Thmay, taking place from April 14-16 this year, is one of the most important festivals for the Khmer people. It lasts three days (four days in leap years) and is traditionally held in a pagoda.-VNA